Friday, March 2, 2018

ReFoReMo Day 2: Kirsti Call Calls for Fresh Concepts

 by Kirsti Call

I love reading books that surprise me with a unique concept and yet feel natural and inevitable.
Some of the freshest stories combine the expected with the unexpected. When I read
unique stories, I like to ask myself these questions:

1. What made this story unique?
2. How did the author combine the expected and the unexpected?
3. What is the best part about this fresh concept?
4. What elements of the story can I add to my writing?
5. How can I add the unexpected to my story to make it sing like the mentor texts I've read?


Here are a few mentor texts with fresh concepts:

Barnaby Never Forgets, by by 


At first this story seems like a copy of Shell Silverstein's poem, SICK.  But the last page made me laugh out loud. And the fresh take at handling forgetfulness is great for anyone who sometimes forgets.  









After the Fall, by Dan Santat

This story takes Humpty Dumpty and turns his story on its head. Instead of focusing on the fall, we learn about what happened after the fall. The illustrations and text enhance an incredible story about accepting what's happened and overcoming fear.  

Dashka Slater

Told from the point of view of a french snail, this story breaks the fourth wall, talks to the reader and gets the children to respond out-loud every time.  







Not Quite Narwal, by Jessie Sima

Every child wants to read about narwhals and unicorns.  It's a given. And what is more fresh than a unicorn born underwater?







Twinderella, A Fractioned Fairy Tale, by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Deborah Marcero 

The synergy of the rhyme and illustrations in this book create a whimsical masterpiece--a fresh twist on Cinderella, girl power, and STEM!






Prudence the Part Time Cow, by  
The idea of a cow who is unsatisfied with doing what cows do, is hilarious.  Fresh, funny and a great read-aloud, this story takes the farm animal trope and turns it into a story about the value of individualism.
What are your favorite books that combine the expected and the unexpected to create something new?

Now take the weekend off to read, reflect, and get ready for Monday's perspectives!

Kirsti is giving away a copy of her book, The Raindrop Who Couldn't Fall! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must comment on each post, be registered, and consistently read picture books throughout the challenge.

Kirsti Call is the co-coordinator of ReFoReMo. She reads, critiques and revises every day as a member of various critique groups, and blogs for Writer's Rumpus.  As the author of The Raindrop Who Couldn't Fall, Kirsti coaches revision for children ages 5-18.  Her school visits involve interactive writing, singing, and of course, reading for research! Kirsti contributed as a 2015 CYBILS YA Fiction panelist and 2016/2017 CYBILS fiction picture book panelist.

253 comments:

  1. Some of my favorite books (and WIPs) are the ones that gear you up for a certain progression of events, only to twist at the end and completely surprise you. It's that final wink that is one of my favorite tricks of the trade! Also, who here has read Mac Barnett's GUESS AGAIN? That book is SO funny, in how it uses rhyme (coupled with Adam Rex's illustrations) to set up an expectation, but then each page turn delights the reader with a surprise. I can't recommend that book enough, as a lesson in surprise!

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    1. I love GUESS AGAIN! Thanks for the recommendation.

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    2. I saw Mac Barnett do a reading of GUESS AGAIN. HILARIOUS! And so clever.

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  2. The twist of the ending in AFTER THE FALL and a snail addressing the reader in ESCARGOT were two of my best discoveries this year. I really enjoy the pun, the twist, the unexpected. Ben Hatke's, NOBODY LIKES A GOBLIN, plays with the expectation that goblin's are unlikeable all the way to the end.

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    1. Just reserved NOBODY LIKES A GOBLIN! Thanks!

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  3. These titles are new to me. I like the four questions. I'll use them as i read. Thanks,

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  4. "Combining the expected with the unexpected" is a great way to keep a story fresh. I like this idea and hope to revisit a couple of my manuscripts with this in mind!

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  5. I love a good twist! You’v Inspired me to add a touch of the unexpected to two of my stories. My library only has three of these books, now I must find the others. Thanks, Kirsti!

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  6. Love the creativity of taking a classic story and taking on "what happens after" as in AFTER THE FALL...plus the super clever ending! Love, love, love taking the familiar and making it something new.

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  7. Finding something that’s fresh, or has a unique twist is so much harder than I expected it to be! I love Marcie Colleen’s LOVE, TRIANGLE for its uniqueness. I can’t even imagine how she thought to turn a friendship story into such a clever geometry lesson too!

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  8. I love how Corey Rosen Schwartz combined math concepts and Cinderella in Twinderella. I've never eaten escargot, and now I never will. Escargot is adorable. My discovery this year: the term metafiction. One of my new favorite picture books is Be Quiet! It's hilarious.

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    1. I love TWINDERELLA so MUCH for that very reason. Be Quiet! Is a really fun one too!

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  9. I love the idea that the unexpected can also feel inevitable. I think that captures the ending of After the Fall perfectly.

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  10. Some good examples of expected/unexpected are Chicken Dance by Tammi Sauer, The Great Puppy Invasion by Alastair Heim, Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, and I Don't Like Koala by Sean Ferrell.

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    1. LOVE Creepy Carrots! LOVE Aaron Reynolds books!

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  11. Not quite Narwhal has such a sweetness to it. But even better, my whole family loved the fun ending!

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  12. I love Prudence. I have found it is sometimes surprising to read these books to kids and learn their take on the story. I always learn something new from their reaction after reading the story.

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  13. LOVED seeing 2017 Cybils Nominees here. Thanks for the wonderful post, Kristy!

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  14. I love how these unexpected titles ranged from funny to overcoming fears. ESCARGOT invited me right in and I began conversing with the french snail first thing this Friday morning ;)

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  15. Thank you for this post, Kristi! What a great selection of picture books with fresh concepts. I fell in love with the unexpected aspects of After the Fall!

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  16. Thank you, i will keep your points in mind as i revise... as an example, i love Love, Triangle on Marcie Collins... such an unexpected twist on friendship... and geometry too!

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  17. Love twists in books. I haven't read Escargot - I need to get it ASAP!

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  18. Haven’t read any of these besides Twinderella... I better get reading.

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  19. Unexpected but inevitable, what a winning combination. Thanks!

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  20. I add POOR LITTLE GUY by Elanna Allen to this great list! Thanks!

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  21. The unexpected is such a great way to keep a reader on his/her toes. Thanks for the great post. Terrific questions to keep in mind while reading and writing.

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  22. I love the fresh concept theme, especially as it introduced me to Escargot! Dan Santat has written a wonderful unexpected twist in After the Fall. Thank you for a great post.

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  23. Not quite Narwhal might be a new favorite. Such a sweet take on the typical fish out of water story, and the ending was priceless.

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  24. I will be looking at my manuscripts to see where I can insert the unexpected with the inevitable. After The Fall is such a great example of this, I found myself saying, “what?!” Then, as I remembered, humpty was an egg, said “of course!” Genius!

    My kids are enjoying ReFoReMo as much as I am. Twinderella and Jumping Jamberee are their new favorites.

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  25. I know I have to take better notes. These books are so enjoyable. I LOVE Escargot. Not to eat! It made me smile throughout. I could imagine a child responding with the reader, "Au Contraire!" The other sentences that were repeated, also smile worthy. Definitely a fresh and unexpected concept.

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  26. Thanks, Kirsti, for giving me some new books to discover. I love a twist at the end, and find it incredibly hard to do. Will dig deeper into these titles and then go back to my stories with renewed energy. I love Bark, George (which I believe was a mentor text last year). It's one of my faves :)

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  27. The unexpected is so fun to read and so challenging to get right. I personally love "And Two Boys Booed" by Judith Viorst because when the MC finally summons his courage to perform we're ready to cheer with/for him, but "two boys booed." But in the next/final page turn, "But all the other kids were clapping!" A twist of emotions that combines reality with a satisfying and positive ending.

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  28. This one is hard, just when I think you have found the unexpected, I find another book just like it. Ha. Back to the drawing board.

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  29. These were fun reads... I liked inventive Prudence, and mathematically-inclined Tin, and the snail race.

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  30. Found some new ones here to read today. TY, Kirsti. YOU "called" them right!

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  31. Thank you, Kirsti, for these amazing mentor texts! I absolutely LOVE After the Fall and Escargot! After the Fall leaves you saying, "Of course! How did I never think of that?!" And Escargot is oozing with personality and charm. These are two of my favorite pbs ever. I'll definitely be thinking differently about current and future stories I write.

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  32. I love the reminder about keeping concepts "fresh" because, although that's hard to do, it's still possible. And these mentor texts are perfect reminders! Thanks for sharing!

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  33. Thank you! More fun reading ahead.

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  34. Barnaby Never Forgets is a fun read for children who may have memory issues. It helps them to see there can be an upside to forgetting.
    It helps reading it with grandparents that may be in that "forgetful" stage. After the Fall is so touching, the backstory makes it even more so. Dan wrote it for his wife as a love letter. She suffered from anxiety and postpartum depression. The fact that the egg found it's wings... redemption and reawakening .. be still my heart. For those who can't get books... look up the title on youtube!

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    1. I love the story even MORE now that I know the back-story <3
      That is so sweet xx

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  35. So many great choices here! Thank you for the reflection questions, I will definitely be using these.

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  36. My girls and I LOVEthe message and the twist at the in “After the Fall” and the humor in “Escargot!” We all ate carrots while realding it aloud. These are wonderful texts to learn from, thank you!

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  37. Thanks for a great list and a great concept worth exploring more!
    Jenna feldman

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  38. I loved After The Fall because I never thought about what type of egg Humpty was before! I am working on turning a nursery rhyme it into a PB and it's not easy unless you have that great twist.

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  39. These are great mentor texts to highlight a valuable writing tool. Can't wait to dig into some of my WIPs and get twisted!

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  40. I'm just amazed at what creative minds can come up with to keep the reader turning pages. It's no wonder I love picture books so! Thanks for the great mentor text suggestions and helping to coordinate ReFoReMo, Kirsti.

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    1. Glad you're here and enjoying ReFoReMo!

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  41. good point that a fresh concept is not always just in the title, but also in the execution.

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  42. Unique is my THING! Thanks for these mentor suggestions which will help me improve my THING. I'm not even telling how many of these titles, I didn't just check out but bought!

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  43. Loved After the Fall! Can't wait to read some of these other titles.

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  44. Thank you for your post and for the mentor text list. I love Escargot!

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  45. These are great examples of fresh concepts. Thanks Kirsti!

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  46. Interesting choice of books, I could not find 2 of them but I enjoyed the others. After the Fall was not my favorite and kids didn't respond to it.

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  47. Thanks, Kirsti! There are a few new-to-me titles that I am excited to explore from your perspective! And I love the opportunity to reread the familiar books from this research angle, as well!

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  48. Thanks, Kirsti, for these recommendations. As a narrative nonfiction PB writer, my challenge is finding a fresh angle or "way into a subject" that hasn't been used before. My motto is, "The FIRST book published on a topic doesn't necessarily make it the BEST one!"

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  49. Thank you! I already loved After the Fall and the ending amazed me the first time I read it. Escargot is a new favorite too- thanks for showing me a new way to look at these books!

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  50. Loved Escargot!! Not Quite Narwhal was fun as well. Thank you for sharing these great books.

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  51. I haven't read all the titles listed (waiting on a few to be returned to the library), but I absolutely loved ESCARGOT. There is so much unique about it - from how long it is (though it reads fast) to the conversational tone and calls to interact with the book to the French words peppered throughout. I would not be surprised to hear that many kids end up with the snail as their favorite animal. An old favorite unique book is BILLY'S BUCKET by Kes Gray where a kid wants a bucket for his birthday. What he sees in the bucket is really unexpected, and I love how it ends.

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  52. Fresh concept plus familiar sentiment equals a perfect picture book. These are inspiring. Thanks, Kirsti!

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  53. I love the "twist" endings in BARNABY NEVER FORGETS and AFTER THE FALL. I noticed that they come mainly from the pictures, and that both of these books were by author/illustrators. I wonder how authors (not illustrators) could accomplish the same thing in a manuscript, perhaps with an illustration note? -Chantal Ostroske

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  54. Wonderful choices! Thank you for this post!

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  55. I love a plot twist that is TRULY unexpected. Very hard to pull off. Great post!

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  56. I like question #2 - was it in art? repetition? traditional tale expectations? different world? Now you've got me ready to examine this. (and I absolutely love After the Fall!)

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  57. You listed some great suggestions! Others that come to mind are WOLFIE THE BUNNY which is a funny & unusual twist on the familiar sibling rivalry/new sibling theme and LOVE, TRIANGLE which is a twist on a third character coming between two best friends.

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  58. Great list of books for fresh concepts! Also, good questions to keep in mind while reading. Thank you!

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  59. Loved these fresh, funny, positive books! Great post Kirsti!

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  60. Love Mac Barnett's books. Another great concept is word play, and Amy Krause Rosenthal is a master at that.

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  61. I've always loved the way Mo Willems combines the expected with the unexpected! Some of my other favorites include (but are definitely not limited to): Night Animals (Marino), Ryan Higgins' books, Tara Lazar's books, and Ida, Always (Levis/Santoso). Thank you for this thought-provoking post.

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  62. The expected and the unexpected...I will have to pay more attention to this.

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  63. Thanks, Kirsti! I love your five questions. Picture books that surprise me with a twist, bring out a good laugh, or leave me with a warm feeling are my favorites. Trying to do that as I write is a challenge!

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  64. Not Quite Narwhal is a favorite around here! I love the unexpected in each of these books. Your questions give me something to think about as I look for fresh concepts in my own writing. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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  65. I enjoyed reading all of the "fresh concept" books. I was especially drawn to Escargot with the technique of breaking the forth wall. I can totally see a group of kids during story time shouting out answers to Escargot's questions. I am going to keep the idea of a direct address to readers in mind as an option.

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  66. Love how these texts combine the unexpected with the expected, are surprising but different and yet make perfect sense.

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  67. I am totally awed and impressed by this list of books (3 I could not get). New loves in my life! Each is unique, fresh, and captivating. I can't wait to reread them. I would list your list as books to learn from! Thanks!

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  68. Thanks for choosing the selected books. All great and learned a lot. Was blown away by the After The Fall ending. Also loved Escargot. I appreciate how it drew me and had me participate in his/her journey.

    -Casey

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  69. I'm with you, Kirsti. I think Prudence is pretty adorable. I also have Not Quite Narwhal and Escargot. I think the most original in the bunch is Escargot, not just in addressing the read directly but also moving through the book towards the salad at the end. (I hadn't seen that tactic used since the ancient Sesame Street book where Grover says at the very beginning "There is a monster at the end of this book." But that book must be from the '80s at least! :D)

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  70. Thank you, Kirsti, for these fine examples of the unexpected and the questions to ask yourself as you read a story. I have many favorites with that unexpected twist. A couple of them are NINE WORDS MAX and THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS :)

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    1. I love the paper bag princess! I'll have to check out nine words max :)

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  71. After The Fall's unexpected twist WOWED me! I just loved the shocking simplicity of it! Of COURSE he turned into a bird! He's an EGG!!!!! So beautiful! Great texts today. Thanks Kristi! :)

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  72. Thanks Kristi, I like your list of questions for helping point out the things I sometimes overlook. I'll use that for sure.

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  73. I agree! ESCARGOT is so sweet and fresh and really draws kids in. Thanks for sharing.

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  74. Twist, Twist, Twist away . . . .and then do the Foxtrot. Love the unexpected.

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  75. I love Prudence and I'm in line for Jody Jensen Shaffer's latest book, but I think Escargot may be my new favorite animal! A Hungry Lion or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals is also great at playing with the expected and unexpected. Thinking about how to add fresh twists as I revise.

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  76. Yes, Escargot is magnifique!
    And "How did the author combine the expected and the unexpected?" is a great question to keep in mind as we read--and write!

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  77. I was challenged by "After the Falls." It's an original way to tell and old story and address tough subjects at the same time.

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  78. I love these mentor text choices, Kirsti! One of my favorites, for surprising twists (and super fun language), is THE GRUFFALO by Julia Donaldson.

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  79. Your guiding questions are simple yet so incredibly valuable. Sitting down with a MS now and asking myself these questions. Thanks!

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  80. This is the second recommendation I've read to check out Escargot. My libraries don't carry it, so I've just decided to purchase it. I can't wait to read it in full!

    I love how Dan Santat answered a question that perhaps no one ever thought to ask... What sort of egg was Humpty Dumpty, anyway? :)

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  81. Great post. I love each of these books but you have included two of my all time favorites--Escargot and Not Quite Narwall. LOVE. The questions at the beginning are a great framework to apply to my own works in progress. Thanks!

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  82. These are wonderful suggestions for keeping books fresh. I love the combination of the expected with the unexpected.

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  83. I don't think I've ever enjoyed the ending to a PB more than I did "After the Fall." The other selections were great too. Thanks for sharing them with all of us.

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  84. Such great suggestions and thanks to all the people who have posted additional suggestions! Starting a list for April. :)

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  85. Each of these books is such a great example of this! Thanks for a great post!

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  86. Loved Escargot! I really enjoy reading the participant posts, as well! I will be addressing these four questions now when I read. I like the dance of expected mixed with the unexpected!

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  87. What a very clever list of books to illustrate today's concept. Thanks for the list of questions to guide our thinking.

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  88. Great questions to ask and super fun mentor texts to read! I love ESCARGOT and NOT QUITE NARWHAL.I'm always amazed by Corey Rosen Schwartz's masterful rhyme, and adding the math element is inspired. Thanks for the post!

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  89. Hi Kirsti! Your post reminds me of a TED talk. The speaker said that people want a twist on the expected.

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  90. Kirsti, you had me with 'fresh concepts'. I am always on the hunt for a fresh perspective. You named three books that I have not yet read, so happy reading time for me! Delightful post.

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  91. I love being surprised by a book (and a movie). I think MARIGOLD BAKES A CAKE by Mike Malbrough does a great job of this from page one when Marigold is a male, when you get a little counting in there, and the end. I especially love the end.

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  92. Fun picture books with memorable & endearing characters. Thanks, Kirsti!

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  93. I really like the way you think about books you like with the questions you pose, Kirsti. Thanks for sharing those, and your mentor texts!

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  94. Thanks for this post! I love a good book with a twist! THE SEA OF BATH by Bob Logan is an adorable pb with a surprise ending that still makes me smile after all these years (it debuted in 2010).

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  95. I love this question: How can I add the unexpected to my story to make it sing like the mentor texts I've read?
    It is something I will ask myself every time I write!
    Thank you.

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  96. I loved Not Quite Narwhal and Escargot. It was interesting to read all of the selections with your questions in my mind. I recently experimented with having a MC talk to the reader, but it didn’t work out well. Escargot has inspired me to try again. Thanks!

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  97. I'm loving the fresh ideas! Humpty having fear of heights! Escargot speaking like a tiny Hercule Poirot...adorable. Not Quite Narwal was definitely a fresh take on the Ugly Duckling story.
    Thank You.

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  98. Thank you Kirsti. Excellent selection!

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  99. I love the 5 questions. I will use them as I continue reading. The questions help get my creative thoughts flowing. Thank you!

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  100. Arin Wensley,
    I loved the charming snail character in the book Escargot. I enjoyed the unique stories of Not quite Narwhal and After the Fall. I still need to find and read the other three books.

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  101. Thank you! These are some good questions.

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  102. Going along with the theme of unique cow books, two other great (and surprising) ones are I AM COW, HEAR ME MOO, and of course the classic, CLICK CLACK MOO: COWS THAT TYPE.

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  103. Great titles! Duck For President is a good atypical theme.

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  104. I loved Not Quite Narwhal. I like the unexpected twists at the end of books. Thanks!

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  105. These were great thank you! It definitely is hard to come up with something unique but I like your perspective instead of combining the expected with the unexpected. It reminded me that it doesn't have to be a totally new idea just a fresh way to use it. Thanks! My favourite was Twinderella. I loved the idea of Not Quite Narwhal - although it did remind of the the Little Mermaid with Unicorns. Still super cute though! Thanks!

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  106. I love the 5 questions Kristi. Thank you for those. I actually had never read Escargot or Prudence the Part Time Cow. Loved them both!

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  107. Thanks for the post, and for all of these unique book suggestions.

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  108. I like how you show each example. Thanks

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  109. YES! I love the unexpected in a story. One of the hardest things for me to do. Can't wait to dig into these.

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  110. It is so enjoyable to read how others come up with their twist endings. I hope I can be as creative.

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  111. Got to read some interesting books and really liked them. I can use the questions for self-editing.

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  112. Thanks for this awesome list! In particular, Escargot blew me away, I love how he talks to the reader. So clever! My mind is already spinning away trying to figure out a way to use this technique in a story.

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  113. I appreciated the addition of a rhyming book to your list, and as a math geek, loved the quadrupling at the end of Twinderella.

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  114. I enjoyed reading Escargot. I laughed like a little kid. Loved being part of the book.

    Yet I liked Not Quite Narwal even more. It says so much in a few words. Kelp does so many things even though he's so slow. This character grows a lot in this book. He discovers himself and the world.

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  115. Kristi: I LOVE the questions you pose! You really have me thinking! I will MOST DEFINITELY keep this mind as I read. THANK YOU!!!

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  116. Great list of questions to answer while reading--thank you!

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  117. I’d read After the Fall before and the ending stood out to me as the fresh take. This time around, I focused on the fact that it is also a fresh take because it’s a familiar story from a different point in the timeline (after the original). Makes me excited to mine a whole new. Arch of ideas from existing tales.

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  118. Thank you for this post. I love finding books with fresh concepts.

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  119. I’m looking forward to reading these books over the weekend and being mindful of the questions you posed.

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  120. Kirsti - Thank you for sharing the five questions. They are something I will consider when writing picture books. I loved the fresh take on Humpty Dumpty in After the Fall. It was surprise after surprise after surprise. . .

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  121. Thank you so much for all this great insight to think about... Adding a twist or something unexpected is so much harder than it sounds, though!

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  122. Instead of these question, I read three questions. Imagine my surprise when there were five questions. So unexpected. Really enjoyed the questions and the books. I love surprise endings.

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  123. Adding a twist or unexpected is easier said than done! But I love trying!

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  124. Thanks for the great post!

    I've been reading a ton of PBs for the past year and have been asking some other questions, but these questions will really help me look at them from a new angle; especially question #5.

    One book that might fit into this category is LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD by Tara Lazar. Everyone is afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, but who knew he had such mad skills on the ice? I never imagined he would end up as her skating partner. What a surprise!

    Thanks for a great Day #2!

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  125. I liked After the Fall much better this read. I saw Dan Santat as giving Humpty a hopeful ending. The nursery rhyme is very sad.

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  126. Great post, Kirsti! Funny enough I was just thinking this week that I might be able to improve a manuscript that's in the drawer by pushing it to the unexpected. Thank you for supplying the questions to ask as I use mentor texts to help guide me!!!

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  127. I found myself interacting with the book Escargot. What a cute story!!

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  128. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Edited:
      I have never read any of the books so far. I loved them so much that I decided to do ReFoReMo books while the course runs for my blog. Tonight at 10:36, I've had 224 visitors. Thanks, ReFoReMo book selectors and fans!

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  129. I love the four questions you posed at the beginning of your post. It's very helpful while reading today's picture books.Thank you very much.

    viji

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  130. Thank you for introducing me to some more great picture books. Adding the unexpected did make these stories very engaging!

    Escargot captured my attention the most. I look forward to reading this book to my grandsons to see how they interact with this precious character.

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  131. Some more great books for day number two. Thanks!!

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  132. I loved Prudence, After the Fall and Escargot. I've got Narwhal reserved. I especially loved the voice in Fscargot. I felt like I was actually conversing with a cute little french snail.

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  133. These look like fun books. I need to find them and read them for the unexpected.

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  134. After a day of monitoring our house on Martha's Vineyard in this bomb cyclone's 80mph winds, I've just now had the chance to read the two books I was able to access for ReFoMo Day Two. In Barnaby Never Forgets, Pierre Collet-Derby's subtle humor in both text and illustrations lifts this book delightfully beyond simple, childlike forgetfulness, inserting fun into the boy's typical examples of forgetting. I can hear young children crying, "You have them ON!" as he searches for his glasses! Collet-Derby's hilarious surprise (perfect!) ending--in the illustrations only--will help make this a definite read-again book for children! Becky Loescher

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  135. Oh, I'm in love with Escargot! :)

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  136. Thank you for the information and the 5 questions.

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  137. These are wonderful examples of books with unique characters and fresh concepts. The questions are good ones to consider when writing. Thanks so much!

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  138. I'm totally in love with how the snail is having a conversation with the reader. I recall reading other books that are similar but the titles slip my mind. :( Day 2 really got me thinking what was it about all the books that stand out in my memory. This is the key for me... it is the unique twists. I especially love when a book communicates with the reader.

    I'm loving this challenge soooo much! I'm learning from reading the books. So need to do this waaaaay more! And I'm loving reading the comments. They are so insightful.

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  139. I really love Not Quite Narwhal. And I typed it up using Heather Preusser's Beat Sheet example and it fit perfectly. But yes, the uniqueness of a unicorn born to narwhals, fabulous. And I can see the uniqueness in the Barnaby story and Escargot. After the Fall is very clever and to explore what happened after Humpty falls, is surely a surprising book. (May not qualify for prize as not US)

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  140. Great topic! Another mentor text which rolls out the inevitable in an unexpected way is Alfie by Thyra Heder. The visual and written storytelling are both so rich. It’s brilliant.

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  141. Thanks for sharing this great list of mentor texts. The unique concepts make them extra enjoyable and fun.

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  142. I loved this grouping!
    Thank you for this post.

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  143. Oh my goodness. There are some amazing books in this group. Thank you for sharing them!

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  144. Love the idea of taking familiar stories and adding unexpected twists or viewing them from different perspectives.

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  145. This is a fanatic list! I still remember the surprise of reading AFTER THE FALL the first time. It feels so daunting to come up with an idea that's never been done before. But not impossible! Thanks, Kirsti!

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  147. These were all new to me and After the Fall is now on my list of favorites. It really is so creative and unique. Thank you for introducing all of these stories to us!

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  148. It's so helpful to read all the comments on books that I could not access through my library system. It makes reading these books a must because of their obviously high value in researching creative styles of writing.
    Becky Loescher

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  149. Thank you for another great post. I love the message of After the Fall.

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  150. It's amazing if you can come up with a fresh concept. THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT is definitely one of those! Great book choices, Kirsti!

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  151. Not Quite Narwhal is just darling. The illustrations beautiful, funny, and creative.
    I strive to write such a simple story, sparse words, and endearing message.

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  152. Loved Escargot! Loved all of the books and the topic. Thank you!!

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  153. I enjoyed all these books with surprise concepts, especially After the Fall. Thank you!

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  154. I can't wait to read all these, thank you for the post!

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  155. ESCARGOT is hilarious, and the illustrations so adorable! Thank you for introducing us to these books.

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  156. Kirsti, this is such a great list! ESCARGOT and BARNABY are two faves! I would add these three: PRINCESS! FAIRY! BALLERINA! (2016) by Bethanie Deeney Murguia, WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE (2017) by Jason Gallaher, and PROFESSIONAL CROCODILE (2017) by Giovanna Zoboli.

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  157. The twists and turns in Escargot and After the Fall are sheer delights.

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  158. Thank you Kirsti for you post. I'm glad there is still fresh concepts to write about :-).

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  159. Thanks for this great list of mentor texts with fresh concepts. I especially love the incorporation of math concepts in Twinderella.

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  160. My youngest daughter is getting into this challenge too. We loved reading Escargot out loud. Not Quite Narwhal is her dream book. Unicorns and narwhals in one book ... oh my!

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  161. okay did anyone else have to go back in After The Fall and figure it out
    I'm not the bightest bulb! but that was awesome! Escargot makes me want to toss my concept book right out the window-very well done! excellent titles, I"m bringing them all into my class to read - my unicorn loving girls will DIE at Not Quite Narwhal!!! Loving this challenge!

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  162. I'm looking to read some of these on youtubereader. They are not in my library.

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  163. Great choices! My daughter had read these all ahead of me (we had to go searching for my ReFoReMo books for Day 2), and she comments all along: "this one is really cute, just wait..." and "this one is SO funny... see?" and "BWAHAHAHAHA"
    Love it!

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  164. Don't know how I missed Escargot before - yes, Escargot, you are my favorite. Mwah! Thanks Kirsti, for that unexpectedly delightful addition to my morning.

    And another thing I like about ReFoReMo - all the great new books I learn about in the comments as well.

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  165. I haven't read Not Quite Narwhal yet-it's coming to my library for me today :)
    Loved After the Fall and especially listening to Dan Santat on a podcast about the book. Wow.

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  166. How did I not know about AFTER THE FALL until now?! What a clever concept, a firm and strong voice, and a spectacular ending! Such a great idea for a PB. Inspires me to come up with unique concepts and write with a stronger voice...and add surprise endings that 'fly'! (pun intended)

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  167. I like the fresh concept mentor text angle. AFTER THE FALL was wonderful and clever! Thanks for the info and the 5 prompt questions!

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  168. Inspiring post! I already ADORED After the Fall, but several of these were new to me. Fell in love with PRUDENCE and TWINDERELLA, especially! Such clever ideas:>)

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  169. Looking forward to reading all the mentor books. Loved the unexpected in After the Fall

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  170. Don't forget to look under the dust covers, too! These books are beautiful, inside, out and every word.

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  171. A picture book with a fresh concept that is a favorite of my students is MY DOG ATE MY BOOK by Richard Byrne.

    Suzy Leopold

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